Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments will open up to four more Legoland Discovery Centres in major shopping centres around Australia in the next couple of years after throwing open the doors of its first southern hemisphere playground at Chadstone today.
The $12 million Lego centre includes a four-dimensional cinema, interactive rides as well as more than 2 million Lego bricks for children and the brand’s grown-up fans to enjoy.
Lego miniature Melbourne opens at Chadstone
A new Lego Discovery Centre has opened in Melbourne, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Merlin settled on Melbourne as the launch site for its first Australian centre after research revealed the city had the nation’s biggest fan base for the timeless toy.
Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne general manager Drew Grove said Merlin had plans to build on its international portfolio of 17 Legoland centres through partnerships with high-end malls in Australia.
Legoland’s British owner Merlin Entertainments plans to open up to four more Legoland centres in premium shopping centres around Australia. Photo: Paul Jeffers
Mr Grove said the global model was to locate Legoland within premium retail centres, malls that already boasted strong visitation numbers.
“The foot traffic to these centres is enormous and we pitch Legoland as a premium product, which aligns with the key demographics of centres like Chadstone,” Mr Grove said.
“We see Legoland Discovery Centre as attracting domestic and international visitation but also local visitors through the drive market of up to 90 minutes away and repeat visitation, which is why we anchor in those shopping centres because they have those repeat visitors.”
For Chadstone co-owners Vicinity Centres and Gandel Group, Legoland is a powerful new drawcard for the ever-expanding centre, which is expected to attract more than 22 million visitors this year alone.
Legoland lands in Melbourne
The opening of Legoland follows the launch of two new dining precincts at Chadstone in October as well as its Hoyts cinema as part of the centre’s $660 million redevelopment.
Chadstone general manager Fiona McKenzie revealed the centre had also recently launched an expressions of interest campaign for the hotel slated for the sprawling retail property.
“We have a really amazing retail offer at Chadstone, there’s something for everybody from the top end to the bottom end but what we need to do is keep evolving the experience and Lego changes all the time, so this isn’t going to be what it is forever and a day,” Ms McKenzie said.
“We like to keep it interesting for our customers so there’s something new every time they visit.”
It’s been a tough few months for the Australian retail sector with six, high-profile labels collapsing since December and Chadstone acknowledged social experiences were a vital asset for retail properties in the current market.
“We are very lucky at a centre like Chadstone, we are at the forefront of shopping centres in the southern hemisphere and we are only six months into a $660 million redevelopment … and we also get high tourism numbers.”
Chadstone already runs a shuttle bus from the city, which makes up to 10 trips a day from Federation Square in the CBD and there are plans to expand this service with the addition of a shuttle service from Southern Cross station and a third service from a yet to be determined location.
Ms McKenzie said tourism was an important opportunity for the centre and Legoland would only boost the property’s tourism credentials.